Prior to looking for treatment, it is important to understand what type of anxiety you may have and what the potential causes are for your anxiety. There are many different options available if you are in the action planning stages of finding a treatment program. Gathering information, as you are doing on this website is a very important part of any treatment program.
Anxiety treatment options can be broken into various groups that include, but are not limited to:
- Alternative Medicine
- Mental Health Therapy
- Prescription Medications
Each of these main groups is discussed below. I have saved the prescription medication reviews for last, as most people are already aware of these as an option and are probably on this site looking for an alternative.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicines have been growing in use as relief options for individuals who experience anxiety or stress on a consistent basis. In fact, over the last 10 years, the alternative medicine market has increased by over 300%. This is due, in some part, to research that suggests herbal alternatives can provide real relief without the negative side effects often associated with prescription medications. Despite what you might read on other websites, natural alternatives are not permanent treatment options for anxiety related disorder, though they can provide short and long-term benefit. (By my definition, prescription medications aren’t permanent anxiety treatment options either).
There are many natural alternatives out there that claim to help relieve anxiety. Over the last 6 months, I have spent many hours collecting and reviewing news articles and clinical research. Before purchasing a natural alternative, it is important to understand which herbs, vitamins and minerals actually work. I have overviewed some of the key alternatives for anxiety relief below. I have listed only the constituents that are backed by clinical studies that showed significant results for relieving anxiety / depression related symptoms. This is just an overview; for more information about alternatives, please visit the alternative medicine section. Do your research before trying any unregulated medicine.
St. Johns Wort – SJW is considered to be the most popular anxiety herb available. Clinical research indicates that St. Johns Wort helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression over a period of 2 – 6 weeks. more..
Valerian Root – Commonly known for it’s sedative effects on the central nervous system, Valerian provides relief for sleep difficulty. Lack of sleep and night-time restlessness may account for much of the stress and anxiety an individual might be experiencing during the day. 90% of the Valerian studies reviewed have shown this herb to be effective in improving sleep quality and calming the central nervous system. more..
Kava Kava – Kava Kava is truly one of the strongest anxiolytic herbs in the world. Clinical study after clinical study shows Kava’s effectiveness in providing short term relief of anxiety and depression. Kava has one of the best safety profiles of any anti-anxiety /anti-depression herbs. more..
Passion Flower – Well known for its anti-anxiety activity, Passion Flower has been shown to provide a calming effect that may help to reduce some feelings often associated with Anxiety. more..
Ashwaghanda Root – Ashwaghanda is classified as an “adaptogen” that is capable of adapting to stresses within your body. This herbal constituent provides a calming, yet strengthening effect. more..
Vitamins – As we all know, vitamins are essential to almost every bodily process. Neurotransmitter synthesis and maintenance is no exception. The B-complex of vitamins play a key role in the break down and production of neurochemicals which results in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and GABA.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Programs
Cognitive Behavior Therapy isn’t new. However, you will find at least 100 different CBT programs on the market, from books and CD’s to online help sites.
Most CBT programs follow the same basic principles which are:
- Identify Automatic Thoughts
- Determine the Core Beliefs they are rooted in
- Find evidence to counteract current, negative core beliefs
- Find evidence to create adaptive coping techniques
- Utilize these new coping techniques whenever anxiety / stress present themselves in day-to-day life.
Using this methodology, CBT has been successful in helping millions of people to find long lasting, permanent results for anxiety.
What prescription medications, as well as herbal alternatives fail to address is the core, underlying thoughts and feelings that drive the anxiety we are experiencing. Though these chemical balancers can most definitely provide relief for symptoms of anxiety, treatment can not be achieved until we are able to create new, positive associative patterns within our own thoughts.
Cognitive behavior therapy has been clinically proven to be an effective, non drug-induced treatment program for relief of anxiety and depression. CBT has been recommended by doctors and is often practiced by psychiatrists and psychologists.
Prescription Drugs as Treatment for Anxiety
Without a doubt, prescription medications like Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Effexor and Welbutrin are the most popular treatment options in use today. Millions of Americans take prescription drugs to help them find relief from the many different types of anxiety.
What is usually not discussed is how prescription drugs work and whether or not they provide long lasting relief. I am no fan of prescription drug medications as treatment options for anxiety and make no effort to hide this fact.
Prescription medications, though effective in treating many symptoms also have many draw backs, like severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms. In addition, they are often no more effective than placebo or natural alternatives when tested head-to-head in clinical studies.
Unlike cognitive behavior therapy, prescriptions do not address the underlying causes of chemical imbalance. The thoughts and feelings you experience are coming from somewhere. Past experiences, daily stresses and negative thought patterns cause anxiety.Simply taking a drug to treat these causes will not change how you think about certain experiences and situations.
Prescription Drugs can not change our thought patterns or the past associations that have been made in our brain.
If you are looking for short term, and even longer term relief of symptoms, and don’t mind the side effects, prescription drugs might be right for you. Spend some time reading the many pages of fine print at the prescription drug’s home page before you do. You will be surprised; that is if you can read the extremely small print.
If you want real, permanent treatment, there are other options! You are already taking the first step by learning about what you can do and planning your actions.